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Conceding a Point

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"Conceding a Point"

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I still think Ross Douthat and Jon Chait are wrong about the professional incentives facing Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack, but I’ll concede to them both that I wasn’t right either. The smart play for the job-seeker is probably to just not say anything. More broadly, I really shouldn’t be speculating about their motives, because it’s all neither here not that.

That leaves us with the small matter of the war itself. I think the evidence that O’Hanlon and Pollack are wrong here is fairly overwhelming. Statistics don’t really corroborate what O’Hanlon and Pollack say, there’s no particular reason to privilege “on the ground” knowledge if it was just fed to them by official sources (which appears to be the case), and, most of all, the point of the surge was to change the political situation in Iraq, and they concede it hasn’t done that. I’d be interested to know what Jon, in particular, thinks about all that.

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